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December 6, 2006

Manatee School Officials Believe They Can Make Their Own Laws

For 23 years, Home School Legal Defense Association attorneys have confronted thousands of school district officials who have a confused understanding of the law. These school officials actually believe that the law is the minimum they can require of homeschoolers. As a result, they “create out of thin air” extra requirements for homeschooling parents.

The truth is, if the law does not explicitly require some action or information, it is not required. It is that simple!

As required under Florida state law, the Bakken family gave their county district in Manatee County a notice that they would be homeschooling. The notice had all the required information—their intent to homeschool; the parents’ names; the name, residence, and birth date of the child; and the signatures of the parents.

However, the family received a letter back from Manatee County school officials who rejected their letter of intent to homeschool because it allegedly was “incomplete.” Officials wanted the family to use the school’s form. However, the school’s form asked for information not required by law, including race, gender, grade, and phone number.

Chris Klicka, an HSLDA attorney, wrote to the school and explained what Florida law requires. Also, because Florida has a state homeschooling law, individual school districts are not allowed to add to or vary the requirements for homeschoolers. This school district was violating the homeschool law by making the requirements for homeschoolers in its district to give information that is not required.

After receiving the letter from attorney Klicka, the school district accepted the family’s original notice and the family has not had any problem since.